People who struggle with anxiety often get told to “Just Relax” a lot.
But honestly, relaxing is sometimes harder than it sounds, and not just for people with anxiety.
Our culture is so fast paced and our demands are so many, that relaxation often seems a pipe dream. Sure if I had a week on the beach in the Caribbean I could relax (not really, we’d have to be a little further out of hurricane season for that to be true 🙂 ) Seriously, sometimes we get so amped from the stress of living life that it can be quite difficult to calm down.
So, how in the world do we de-stress?
There are shelves of books out there that teach many types of relaxation techniques. I myself teach people to deep breath, stretch, progressively relax their muscles and practice mindfulness meditations in my role as a yoga teacher.
But all the knowledge in the world will not help us relax if we don’t practice these techniques sometime every day.
And there in lies the rub. Even when we know how to relax, we have to make it a priority in our life.
For the past couple of months I have given myself the guilty pleasure of a hot bath every night. (Three weeks in Africa taught me that a tub full of hot water was quite a luxury. I guess I should just donate monthly to the Water Project so I don’t feel so bad about my copious use of clean water).
In the category of guilty luxuries, I am also getting a massage regularly right now.
(Honestly, when you get super tense from anxiety a massage is more of a necessity than a luxury. I guess it just takes time to change our mindset that it is okay to spend time and money to take care of ourselves. This may be half the battle here, eh?)
I also take some time each day to practice counted breath practice, usually also at night.
I really want to get back into a regular meditation practice (20 mins a day). I am honestly still hit or miss right now, but I know it would help me so much. I usually practice Centering Prayer when I meditate, but also sometimes use mindfulness meditation.
Of course there are also the slow walks and netflix sessions on the sofa, but although this is de-stressing I am not sure if it technically counts as relaxation the way breathing and meditating would.
(Still, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy oneself. Again, getting into that mindset may be half the battle.)
I’d love to hear how the rest of you out there de-stress and relax.
Are there others with a regular mediation practice? If so, how do you make thing a regular part of your day? Anyone else looking to recommit to their own practice and wanting to be an accountability meditation partner with me?